Stay Vibrant in Retirement

It's worth the effort to be both physically and financially fit when you retire.

Plan early so you can enjoy your retirement to the fullest. A good retirement nest egg, coupled with regular exercise, a strong network of friends and connections within your community will help you feel vibrant.
Finding hobbies and activities that keep you engaged can mean working part-time or volunteering to support your passions.
Staying active in retirement is one of the keys to enjoying it. And continuing prudent financial practices can help as you embark on this new phase of your life.

This one-two approach to retirement is something of a necessity for today's retirees. According to the Center for Disease Control the average U.S. life expectancy now tops 80 years, so remaining physically and mentally active — and having the means to stay that way — are essential to a long active retirement.

Sarah Cross Mills* of Portland, Maine, and Sharon Valentine* of Denton, Texas, both 67 at the time we contacted them, made a conscious effort to attend to both aspects of their lives. Here's their advice:
Keep yourself healthy.
Get daily exercise. Cross Mills said she exercises at the gym six mornings a week—which she believes helped her overcome breast cancer recently. Valentine said she either walks, works out at the gym or plays golf (right outside her door) every day. “I’m not great, but I enjoy it,” she said. Healthy financial tip: Save money on a fitness club membership by taking aerobics or yoga classes at a local community center.
Make new friends and reconnect with old ones.
"When you're new to a place, it's important to push yourself beyond your normal boundaries to meet people," said Cross Mills, who relocated from San Francisco in early 2010. She found college alumni, joined organizations such as the Maine Women's Fund and networked as if she was seeking a job.

Valentine sought friends with positive energy. "I made a list of all the people I wanted to reconnect with," Valentine says. "That was one of my goals that first year. You just pick up, immediately, right where you left off." Thanks to sites like Facebook, it's easier than ever to connect with family, friends and long-lost love connections. Healthy financial tip: When engaging in social media of any kind examine the information you are sharing, and who you are sharing it with.
Learn and experience new things.
Finding hobbies and activities that keep you engaged can mean working part-time or volunteering to support your passions. Healthy financial tip: Working even a part-time job can help you preserve your savings.
Plan ahead so you can relax.
Valentine, who worked in finance before retiring, made the maximum contributions to her 401(k) plan, bought a long-term health care policy and sold her home before she left her job. That way, she could build — and pay off — her dream retirement home. Healthy financial tip: Find ways to reward yourself for a lifetime of savings — but continue to practice the solid financial habits that got you there in the first place.

Key Points

  • Exercise and keep yourself healthy
  • Push yourself to meet people, and reconnect with old friends
  • Try new things that help keep you engaged
  • Plan financially so you can be at-ease in retirement

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